Aquana Beach Resort at Eratap Lagoon
Vanuatu Hotels: New Aquana Beach Resort at Eratap lagoon
Just visited a brand new resort (official opening is 1st December 2011) just down from the famous Eratap Resort on Efate island’s southern coastline. The address is Eratap, so there will be some confusion with the other resort as the road is the same, although about half a km before reaching either resort there is a fork (good signage), you veer to the left for the already well established Eratap Resort and to the right for the new Aquana Beach Resort .
Aquana is naturally a bit naked for now as it is just out of construction stage, but it won’t take long to establish itself, and blend into the environment. After speaking with owners Marco and Fabienne, Silvana and I felt that we were amongst old friends with a real desire to go out of their way to please, so disarmingly honest were their personalities. Both are Swiss and have worked in Australia, so their English is very good.
Although multitasking every minute (as this occupation demands, especially launching a resort!), Fabienne is concentrating on reservation, reception, back office, and Marco on Food & Beverage, but both are fully involved in guest relations. Marco did his apprenticeship, and worked in Michelin Star European restaurants hence knows his craft backwards, speaking to him one can quickly see that for him the creation, and presentation of exquisite food is his passion.
The location for outdoor dining setting is sublime, so cannot wait to try it out. To cap it off, it faces the sunsets…yep real heaven on a stick!
What I am really looking forward to do is to snorkel the surrounding mangrove. For those that may wonder why? Mangroves are the womb of the marine environment in the tropics, it is the kindergarten, the pre school of the ocean, where you witness schools of juvenile prawns, cuttlefish, crabs (yes muddies & others), sardines, and lots more, but also the predators (none dangerous to us) such as snappers, squids, barracudas etc (no sharks, it's not their natural environment) come to “shop”…the ensuing activity in this underworld maze is well…you will see for yourself.
An early morning snorkel with the first streams of sunlight waking the inhabitants is a sight to behold, it will stay with you forever, followed by a hot shower and what Marco promise will be one his signature dishes: “The Gourmet Breakfast”.
The resort location is quite unique, it has soft filtered sand (rare in Vanuatu), similar to legendary Champagne Beach in Santo. Although a traditional beach side/saltwater resort, it has its own ¾ enclosed cove surrounded by a thriving mangrove forest (all protected, no fishing of any kind permitted). Hence, a very quiet (no surf) natural aqua-botanic oasis 20 minutes or so from Port Vila.
I am imagining the distant crabs and other nocturnal snap, crackle, pop symphony emanating from across the water deep in the mangrove at night, the feeling that one is a million miles from nowhere.
If Aquana is not exactly what you are looking for in beach resorts in Vanuatu, you could try the Hideaway Island Resort which is one of the best spots to snorkel in Port Vila, or Tranquility Island Resort also a great snorkeling and diving spot, or Nirvana Resort for the blissful relaxation and space, or try something a little more expensive such as the gorgeous Paradise Cove Resort or the totally renovated Erakor Island Resort and Spa for more indulgence.
We know them intimately, so can help you in making your difficult choice.
Happy travelling to Vanuatu,
John Nicholls in Vanuatu